The Surface Go.Source: Windows Cnetral

Best Windows 10 Laptop for Kids Windows Central 2020

As the world is more connected than ever and our lives are increasingly digital, even the kids need a good laptop to get their school work done, or as a way to chill out after school. However, you probably don't want to spend an absolute fortune, either, and that's where the Surface Go comes into play. It ticks all the right boxes without costing too much.

Best Overall: Microsoft Surface Go

Surface GoSource: Windows Central

The Surface Go is a stellar piece of technology. It's a 2-in-1, tablet-laptop hybrid that can be used in a variety of scenarios. This makes it ideal for kids who may want to do a little homework at the table, followed by some reading or light gaming in the bedroom thereafter. They can even draw on the touch display with a supported pen!

Building on the foundations of the Surface 3, the Surface Go doesn't cut obvious corners that others in this kind of market would at this price point. You get a great looking display, for example, as well as 4GB of RAM on the entry spec model, which makes a difference in the number of processes you can run compared to several low-cost Windows laptops.

It also looks stunning, as all Surface hardware from Microsoft does. It's well made, sturdy as can be and has enough battery life to get through a day and beyond. At less than $400, it's virtually impossible to do better right now for an inexpensive laptop, though it's a shame that the keyboard is still an additional purchase.

Pros

  • Proper Surface experience
  • Compact
  • Versatile kickstand
  • USB-C
  • Touch display also supports pen

Cons

  • Pen and keyboard not included
  • SSD models get expensive

Best Overall

Surface Go

A Surface suitable for the young ones

The Surface Go's portability, performance, and price make it an outstanding laptop for kids, ticking all of the boxes.

Best for Gamers: Acer Nitro 5

Acer Nitro 5Source: Windows Central

Gaming laptops get expensive fast, but Acer's Nitro 5 manages to remain well within the budget range while still offering an FHD gaming experience. The black plastic chassis has some red accents and a red backlight for the keyboard. While it's relatively heavy at about 5.51 pounds (2.5kg), it feels sturdy and has a decent port selection, including two USB-A 2.0, USB-A 3.0, USB-C 3.1, HDMI 2.0, RJ45 Ethernet, an SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

This is a laptop cut out for 1080p gaming thanks to an AMD Ryzen 5 2500U CPU, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, and AMD Radeon RX 560X GPU with 4GB of GDDR5 VRAM. The 15.6-inch display does not hit the 144Hz refresh rate like many other gaming laptops, but its hardware is better suited for a smooth 60Hz.

The bottom of the laptop includes two easy-access panels for DIY RAM and HDD upgrades, allowing you to keep the laptop relevant longer and allowing you to swap out the slow storage that comes stock with the laptop.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Easy-access RAM and storage upgrades
  • Generous port selection
  • Performance for 1080p gaming

Cons

  • Slow HDD
  • Maximum 60Hz refresh rate

Best Value

Acer Nitro 5

Some flaws but a great price

This is a great budget gaming laptop that's well-equipped to keep young gamers happy when they're done with work.

Best Budget: ASUS VivoBook L203

Vivobook L203Source: ASUS

This 11.6-inch notebook from ASUS brings some of the styles of the company's more expensive models at an affordable price. The basic form factor has been around for a few iterations, but it's retained all of what makes it a solid laptop for school-age kids in particular.

Inside you'll find an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, paired to an 11.6-inch 1366x768 resolution display. The display is small, but it still looks perfectly fine, though viewing angles could be better.

Despite the size, there's still a full-size keyboard, a microSD slot, HDMI out, USB-C and full-size USB ports. And with up to 13 hours of battery life, you'll be able to head out for the day and leave the charger at home. To make the deal even better, you're getting a free year of Office 365 tossed in as well.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Full-sized keyboard
  • Generous port selection
  • Small form factor
  • Free year of Office 365

Cons

  • Slow storage
  • CPU only good for lighter tasks

Best Budget

ASUS VivoBook L203

Small, well-designed, and tough enough for kids

Taking styling cues from more expensive ASUS laptops, this compact notebook is perfect for kids.

Best 15-inch: Lenovo IdeaPad 330S

IdeaPad 330SSource: Lenovo

The key to a good laptop for kids is getting a balance of features, performance, and price. For those looking for a larger display on their laptop, the IdeaPad 300S from Lenovo fits the bill. It has a 15.6-inch display, though you are limited to HD resolution. The viewing angles could also be better.

Nevertheless, the quality you expect to find in a Lenovo laptop is here. Even though it's extremely affordable for a big laptop it's also quite powerful. Inside is AMD's Ryzen 5 2500U quad-core processor with Vega 8 graphics. In a budget laptop like this, you'll be hard pushed to find a combination with more raw performance.

It's backed up with 8GB of RAM and an SSD rather than flash storage for better performance, and there are a ton of ports on it. You're even getting USB-C 3.1 on a $400 laptop. The 330S sets an example many others should follow.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Quad-core CPU
  • Generous port selection
  • Superb integrated graphics

Cons

  • Low-res display
  • Viewing angles could be better

Best 15-inch

Lenovo IdeaPad 330S

A big screen with an affordable price

This 15-inch laptop packs a large screen with a quad-core processor, excellent graphics and speedy SSD storage.

Bottom line

Today, you can buy a truly special laptop for your kids that not only keeps the budget in check but looks, feels and acts like something much more expensive. That's the Surface Go in a nutshell.

It looks like a Surface Pro, but smaller, and in many regards, that's how it behaves, too. Sure, it's nowhere near as powerful, but it's also half the price. And yet you still have the flexibility with the kickstand, the detachable keyboard, and the optional pen. You can use it like a tablet, a laptop, a digital notebook, all the same as its larger sibling.

There will always be compromises bringing something down to a lower budget, but in most scenarios, the Surface Go doesn't feel like a compromise. And who wouldn't be proud to own one of these? Be sure to check out our overall best Windows laptop picks for more options.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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